Unemployment woes continue to rip Californian recipients

With the federal unemployment supplement still in deadlock limbo, the disaster of how the state Employment Development Department is handling claims may get worse. 

Millions of Californians are jobless and have yet to receive a single unemployment payment as EDD works to clear its backlog. 

Make no mistake, the EDD, which could handle the normal flow of claims, was hit by a tidal wave. 

"If you look back to the Great Recession in 2008, 2009 and 2010, a lot of people did indeed lose their jobs. But, it happened in the course of 12 to 18 months whereas in the case of the pandemic, it's been more like in 12 to 18 weeks, said Stephen Baiter of the Eastbay Economic Development Alliance.

For months, Corrine Guerrero has been battling the EDD for unemployment benefits she paid for.

"Flat out sent a letter to me saying we're disqualifying you because of whatever reason. They never gave me a reason why," said Guerrero. 

Despite an EDD appeals judge ruling, that she isn't entitled to any money. 

Guerro had to take out two loans and is struggling to repay those loans which raises a whole host of other money problems that still persist even though she has returned to work. 

"A stab in the back, kind of, by the unemployment office and EDD do this to people that have actually applied for unemployment benefits that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. And, I'm one of them," said Guerrero.

Despite applying five months ago, hairstylist and makeup artist Chantelle Coffman has also not been able to collect her unemployment. 

"I still have yet to hear back. I haven't gotten a letter or anything. I re-call daily, like all day back-to-back. sporadically. You know, late, super early; like no matter what did, I could not get through to anybody," said Coffman. 

It is a dignity robbing, get wrenching, pride swallowing humiliation. 

"I do miss working quite a bit. I don't want anybody to think I'm just sitting here trying to collect unemployment you know. I've utilized my credit cards, my savings account. It's definitely like up in the air. I have no idea what I'm gonna do," said Coffman.

Chantelle, Corrine, and a million other Californians, who paid for this insurance, are in this sinking boat. 

"The system just continues to be overwhelmed and there are some technology improvements. EDD, frankly is already on to these; it has been for the last three months, but they take time," said 
labor lawyer & former EDD director Michael Bernick,

Now with the president wanting states to chip in a $100 a week per claimant, meaning $700 million a week from state funds, the Governor says this. 

"The state does not have an identified resource of $700 million per week," said Governor Newsom.

Until most or all of that federal money is restored to the recipients, the slow roll to the economic abyss speeds up for all of us.